Apple Upside Down Cake Posted by: | May 16, 2011

It’s been a crazy week of work and writing/reading for my upcoming projects. My head, and my desk, are a complete mess full of scribbled ideas and notes. But I did squeeze some time to go to the Hanoi Tweet Up and got to know some wonderful Tweeps/Twitterers in Hanoi. Surprisingly quite a few of them have read my blog and actually like it. I also realized that being a local does not make me more resourceful. Thanks to some Hanoi expats, I bagged quite a bit of info on farmers markets and organic shops in Hanoi. It’s such a relief to know that they do sell Tahini in Hanoi, because I’m always craving for hummus. Especially now in the Summer.


On a totally unrelated note (or flavor), I’m also always craving for Apple related dishes.


Whenever I see or think of anything made with apple, I salivate. I blame it on my childhood in Germany where they make ridiculous Apple Streusel and Apple Strudel. Since then, I could never find anything as satisfyingly apple-y (is that a word?), which lead to the perpetual craving. Until I started  cooking & baking. I was then blessed with the ability (or power) to make anything I could laid my hands on with apples: Chicken with Apple Mustard sauce, Roasted Chicken and Apples, Apple Cake etc. I even bought an Apple cookbook. But nothing really satisfies my Apple craving as much as a sticky sweet Apple Upside Down Cake.


The light, fluffy butter cake topped with juicy Apple slices glazed in shiny and sweet butter caramel with subtle hint of cinnamon is a comfort heaven I create for myself every now and then. Every bite brings me right back to the 10-year old me gobbling down an “Apfel Kuchen” (Apple Cake) in Berlin the moment I step out of a neighborhood bakery. So when my relatives decided to drop by for lunch the other weekend (on a really short notice), I shared this little heaven with them too, because it’s not fun to be enjoying it alone.


Apple Upside Down Cake

Jointly adapted from Joy Of Baking and Simply Recipes




Apple Topping:

  • 2 tbsp (28g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 4 medium Apples (Golden Delicious apples), peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg


Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, separated (1 large egg = 57g)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar




1. Butter the sides of a 9-inch cake pan and line with a 10-inch round parchment paper (use the cake pan to outline a circle on the parchment paper). Butter the parchment paper.


2. Melt the butter in a non stick pan on medium heat. Add sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and turns golden brown. Watch the caramel closely as caramel burns easily. Add the apple slices to the pan and stir to coat them with the caramel. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples release their juices. Uncover and cook until the caramel thickens, while stirring to distribute the caramel evenly (and melt some hardened lumps), about 13-15 minutes. Remove apples and caramel sauce from heat and place in the prepared cake pan.



3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy: Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat the butter at low, then medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth and plastic-like consistency, but not too soft. Still at medium speed, add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. While mixing, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl often. Once the beaters form ridges in the butter, and the mixture is pale and fluffy, stop creaming.



4. Beat in the vanilla extract. With Mixer on low, add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (about 20 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often.  With mixer still on low, add the flour mixture (in 3 additions), alternately with the milk (in two additions), ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined (don’t over-mix or you will end up with a tough and dry batter).


5. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with cream of tartar until the whites form firm peaks (I always stop awhile to admire the cloud-like snow-white egg whites). Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter with a spatula, in 2 additions, to lighten the batter. Pour the batter into the pan, and smoothen the top.



6. Bake at 350F or 177C for 30-40 minutes, until the top of the cake has browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto your serving plate. I would advise you to peel off the parchment paper only before serving, to preserve that shiny glaze on the Apple topping.



10 Responses to “Apple Upside Down Cake”

  1. Phuong says:

    Um u mentioning the tweet-up making me feel so sorry for missing the chance to see u and other great twitterers. Off topic, did u take photography lessons or self-study? Your photos look so pretty and pro. Would be helpful if u could share your tips for styling food and taking photos. As for the cake this time, it’s gorgeous as always.

    • Chi Anh says:

      Hi Phuong, yeah it’s a pity you didn’t come. But I’m sure we’ll meet again in future tweet-ups! Regarding photography, I’m 100% self-learner, and still very beginner’s level in my opinion. I do read a lot on food styling and photography tips. But I think the first step to getting pro pictures is by getting a pro camera, i.e. a DSLR. It’s really worth it. Point & Shoot cameras just won’t do your food justice. But perhaps you can practise styling and composition with your old camera first, before you decide to invest. If you want to read some basic knowledge on Food Photography, drop by this very helpful website:

  2. Anh says:

    looks great! I once made a caramel apple upside down cake. So good :)

  3. rivki locker says:

    This definitely looks apple-y! And beautiful.

  4. absentminded says:

    Yummy ! Admire your work :-)
    Are cream of tartar and nutmeg necessary for this recipe ?

    • Chi Anh says:

      LInh: Thanks :) cream of tartar is a stabilizer for the egg whites, so it doesn’t lose its air bubbles so easily. u can do without by adding a bit of salt. Nutmeg is a spice, you can do without it too. As long as you have cinnamon.

  5. [...] Over the course of my 4 sessions, I have made plenty of pastries. Among them were the Caramel Pineapple cake and Honey cakes, which are quite straight forward and I won’t be blogging about them here. But let’s admire that gorgeous cake for awhile still… (for similar recipe and method you can refer to my previous Apple Upside Down Cake): [...]

  6. [...] Upside Down Cake, find the recipe here – just replace the fruit topping with any fruit you [...]

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